Kate Turner looks at what it’s like being the third wheel, dating, love, and commitment … and wonders if there’s any hope in the new year.
Third wheeling—you smile and laugh like it’s going out of style to prove you’re happy being the single one, but you’re not kidding anyone; people know the truth!
That’s why when some people come and say hi to you and your two friends, who are a couple, they say hi like normal to them, but when they turn to look at you with their heads cocked to the side, they look at you with utter pity. Like, “Hang in there, love, you’ll find someone.” And, “They don’t know what they’re missing! I tell you what, this time next year I’ll take you out on a date myself if you’re still spending your Friday nights hanging out with your neighbor’s pet cats.”
Aww, thanks, Uncle Harry. Things are looking up for me in 2017!
But seriously, third wheeling, I’ve had enough of you!
Changing that is not going to be an easy feat if you’re anything like me—relationship averse.
Ok, so, to explain! “Normal” people start dating at what, 14? Well, for me, I’d get asked out, and instead of replying with a simple yes or no, I’d giggle uncontrollably and run away. I may or may not still do that today.
“Normal” 15-year-olds go on first dates to the local cinemas, holding hands for the first time, cute love letters like, “Hey, will you be my girlfriend? Tick box no, yes, or maybe.” Whereas for me, I was having paper sword fights with my brother on the roof or our house, trying to prove I could be a pirate.
To be honest, boys weren’t even on my radar till 17-18.
So, what if you are reading this and think, “Fuck, that’s me! I may as well start drinking now!” Well, keep reading and let’s find out.
Does the word “commitment” have you comparing it to a coffin for yourself to be buried in … alive!? And you start hyperventilating at the thought of being trapped by the wrong person for God knows how long, probably till you fuck it up. I mean, you know them, you’ve bonded, but what if that was all an act to trap you, and they end up building a well in the basement, and asking you to put the lotions on the skins!? What then? Huh?
But also, you don’t want to be a hussy just getting laid, incapable of relationships, barely surviving here and there with some casual friends with benefits. So instead you decide to walk alone, destined for a future of vodka and porn. And maybe a cockatoo that you teach to say, “You’re fine! You’re doing great! Put the drink down!”
If that sounds like you, then yes, you are like me. I’m sorry!
Truth is, I want love! We all do, right? I genuinely want to sort myself out, meet my soulmate, and fall deeply in that yucky love. But I’ve been burned by the man, so these days I tread carefully; so carefully in fact that I avoid it all together.
A letter to The Beatles from people like me:
Dear John, Paul, George, and Ringo,
It was you guys who told the world that, all you need is love. We hear you, we agree, but we’re fucking scared as shit of it. And we’re sure if we had the support of that special guy, or girl, it would solve many of our problems. And maybe we’d stop spooning our bed pillow at night, pretending it’s Morgan Freeman (don’t judge, that man was the shiz in Kiss the Girls).
But now, with well-stated fears, letting it in is proving to be more difficult than first thought. And the only love we see is watching the couple we’re third wheeling be so evidently and admirably in love with each other that they forget the outside world is even around them. The love they found mended their trialled pasts and presented their future with blissful joy and creation … and then there is us, bitter old hags.
I’ve been close to letting love happen, yes! But if I put my heart out there again and it even gets close to being stepped on, I’m fucking out. Maybe that’s my problem; I’m too scared to take a chance.
Okay, God, please don’t let it get to the stage where I’ll say yes to anyone because it’s better than being alone.
But see, once a woman … or man, but I’m a woman, so I’m going off that … has been burned, we don’t just trust anyone, especially someone who only puts in effort to say how pretty she is, says they can see a future, saying in you they’ve met the girl of their dreams, but it’s all shit! All said only in hopes of a few-night stands bangings!
In the end that’s all we’ll know, how to get “love” to be physical only and scrap the intimacy. We’ll miss spotting the truly great guy or girl, who is genuinely into us as a person, not just the physical, but the core us, as cuckoo as we can be. So, damn players, quit playing!
To end this little rant and somewhat of a 28th-year-life crisis, what I truly think is, when you are void of something as important as love, the longing that comes only amplifies the importance of how much we need it in our lives, and how much third wheeling sucks; seriously, a suckfest! How can we feel the greatness of life without that someone to look like a freakin’ dork with?
Okay, so I can kid myself that I’m happy living the single life most of the time, smile extra wide in pics with loved-up couples, say I enjoy not having to answer to anyone, that I don’t miss someone in particular anymore, but nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling, tell me, baby, where did I go wrong? I could put my arms around every boy I see, but they’d only remind me of you … dammit! That Prince can sing my feels!